Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Jefferson Bible and other fun Founding Father heresies.

I'd read about the Jefferson Bible before, thanks be to Robert Anton Wilson, but recently reading Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol reminded me of it. Jefferson cut-and-pasting his own version of scripture delights my blasphemy bone. That kind of thing and the Treaty of Tripoli serve as welcome reminders that those folks were overwhelmingly deist and would find the modern religious right full of asshatery, despite the efforts of the last thirty years to claim the U.S. as a "Christian Nation."

Jefferson Bible - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
"The Jefferson Bible, or The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth as it is formally titled, was Thomas Jefferson's effort to extract the doctrine of Jesus by removing sections of the New Testament containing supernatural aspects as well as perceived misinterpretations he believed had been added by the Four Evangelists.

...The Jefferson Bible begins with an account of Jesus’s birth without references to angels, genealogy, or prophecy. Miracles, references to the Trinity and the divinity of Jesus, and Jesus' resurrection are also absent from the Jefferson Bible."
Treaty of Tripoli - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
"The Treaty of Tripoli usually refers to the first treaty concluded between the United States of America and Tripoli... The treaty was signed at Tripoli on November 4, 1796 and at Algiers (for a third-party witness) on January 3, 1797, finally receiving ratification from the U.S. Senate on June 7, 1797 and signed by President John Adams on June 10, 1797.

...Article 11 has been a point of contention in disputes on the doctrine of separation of church and state as it applies to the founding principles of the United States.

Article 11 reads:

Art. 11. As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

Advocates of the separation of church and state claim that this text constitutes evidence that the United States Government was not founded on the Christian religion. The Senate's ratification was only the third recorded unanimous vote of 339 votes taken. The treaty was printed in the Philadelphia Gazette and two New York papers, with no evidence of any public dissent."

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